By Norrasyidah Arshad
SHAH ALAM, May 6 — The Federal government has to look into the population density and its ratio as a determining factor of the Covid-19 infection rate in each state.
Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) chairman Datuk Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad explained if the calculation is based on the ratio per 100,000 population, Kelantan would be the state with the highest infection rate.
“It is unfair to say that Selangor has the highest number of infections. Indeed, we have recorded the highest figure, but the population density and ratio play a role in infectious diseases.
“If we want to measure (the infectivity rate), we cannot only look at the figure. We have to compare apple to apple,” said Dr Dzulkefly at a forum titled ‘Pandemic and Vaccination, Is There a Need for Emergency?’ in Kuala Lumpur broadcast live on YouTube yesterday.
Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said Putrajaya’s delay in using digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI) to trace and predict the Covid-19 outbreak had caused a rise in numbers.
He said the Federal government should have in the beginning come up with a strategic move to contain the transmission of the coronavirus by using the FTTIS — finding, tracing, testing, isolating and supporting — approach.
Expressing his concern over frontliners having to manually reach out to the Covid-19 close contacts, Dr Dzulkefly said that the MySejahtera app and the contact tracing process has to be digitalised and automated to ramp up the FTTIS approach in order to control the transmission rate.
“As long as the government does not succeed (with a strategic approach), then we will be playing catch-up with the virus and not overcoming it,” he said.
The former health minister had cited STFC’s previous ability to predict where the outbreak would happen when the Federal government had shared the necessary data with the state administration.
“We had done it previously when they shared the date with us last year, but now that the data is not available, we are almost blind and cannot do so.
“There should be programmes using AI and now the Bank Negara Mereka had introduced the HIDE initiative… and we hope that HIDE would be able to integrate digitally and make it automated to use the FTTIS approach,” said Dr Dzulkefly in reference to the Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement system, which was introduced by Putrajaya on Tuesday.
“This is the strategic key. The rest such, as the SOP (standard operating procedure), that is just the tactical move to observe physical distancing, wearing face masks and washing of hands… in war terms, those are tactical (move), which must be adhered to by the people. But to win the war, there has to be a bigger strategy.”
Selangor had recorded the highest daily Covid-19 cases in the country yesterday at 1,548 out of the total nationwide figure of 3,744.